Sunday, April 26, 2009

Victoria, British Columbia

Our trip to Victoria went off without a hitch, and I am kicking myself for not making this trip before now.  The ferry left the Seattle port and took about two and a half hours to get to Victoria, and it was a pretty peaceful ride with only a little rocking towards the end.  I normally don't get motion sickness, but when I went to the top level to walk around .... I felt a little uneasy!  There were a couple other people hanging around the bathrooms with bags in hand, hoping their weren't going to puke!  After I sat back down, I felt fine and am very thankful for that.  


Once we arrived in Victoria, a charter bus was waiting to take a group of us on a tour around the city.  It was the perfect way to experience the highlights in such a short time frame on the 45 min ride to (and from) the Butchart Gardens.  Then, we arrived at the famous Butchart Gardens, and they were absolutely breathtaking!  I took about 150 photos, and we found it was almost impossible to capture how surreal and peaceful this place really was.

                                                                                                      

April is a time for daffodils, tulips, and hyacinth flowers.  
All of these are pictured below the Flowering Cherry Tree.

The Fritillaria flower - Isn't it so unique!

The Gardening House

The Ross Fountain

The Rose Garden - The roses weren't in season, but I assume it would be magnificient when they're in bloom.

The Sturgeon Fountain

Overlook from the Italian Garden

Aunt Tanis and me

The Show Greenhouse


Aunt Tanis, me , and Uncle Don with my favorite - The Rhododendron flower

Tulips and more tulips


Lastly, the Sunken Garden - which was my favorite.  Doesn't it look too good to be true?


Uncle Don and Aunt Tanis .... Thank you, thank you for such a wonderful trip.  I will never forget these memories, and I am so glad we made this happen.  Love you both and look forward to seeing you again soon.  You are welcome to stay with us anytime, so don't even think about booking a hotel next time because I am going to make you cancel your reservations like this past vist!  I see a golf trip in the near future ..... 

(Gabe was in eastern Washington on a four day golf trip with twelve guys.  I was so sad he missed out on this trip, but glad I had such great company!)
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oprah's Top Burger Spot

Red Mill Burger has been rated the "The Best Burger in Seattle" 10 years in a row and "One of the top 20 burgers to eat before you die" from the Oprah Show.  It is one of my favorite places with a quaint little atmosphere, tucked away in the Seattle neighborhood, and always so jammed packed.  I never crave a burger, unlike my other half who could eat one every meal until he dies, but I proudly order one here!  Aunt Tanis (my Dad's sister) and Uncle Don were in town this week for work, and we were able to catch up and eat at Red Mill for some amazing dinner this evening.  I am still incredibly full and feeling guilty from my burger and onion rings :)   It isn't a greasy burger, and if this isn't an oxymoron ... it seems like the healthiest burger out there.  


They are spending the weekend with me, and we are going to Victoria, B.C.!  So, stay tuned for an update from my first trip to Canada.  I have wanted to take advantage of being able to travel across the border since I live a skip away, but losing our birth certificates in the move delayed the process until I admitted they were lost.  Tanis has talked about Victoria for quite some time, and I am really looking forward to this all coming together and using my passport for the very first time.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Too much dependence

Our household depends on our fellow tivo to record our favorite shows, and it definitely let me down tonight!  Tuesdays is my favorite night because Biggest Loser and American Idol are both on, and I would be lying if I didn't admit to looking forward to it.  Well, after I was living my Biggest Loser "high" after the motivational speech of the one who got kicked off (didn't want to spoil it for everyone) .... I realized American Idol didn't record!!!  What a bummer to a great night :(

Sunday, April 19, 2009

On the go all weekend.

Gabe and I went to the Mariners vs. Detroit Lions baseball game on Friday night and had a great time.  This was the only game all season where we weren't pulling for the home team since Gabe is a hardcore Tigers fan.  He was born in Detroit, and I learned real quick when we were dating that I was going to be a well rounded Michigan sports fan.  It was suppose to be freezing, so I prepared for the cold and windy weather with my ski jacket and gloves.  By the end of the night, it turned out to be perfect baseball weather and was quite comfortable with just my jacket.  We have season tickets with unbelievable seats on the eight row right by third base -- what a great way to start out the season where I couldn't be happier for either team winning! 


I volunteered at the American Diabetes Association Expo majority of the day on Saturday, and here is a picture of our display with my Pfizer colleagues.  This is a side of my industry that I don't get to interact with enough because there are so many obstacles and blocks regarding compliance and conversing with consumers.  So, we constantly were telling everyone to "contact their doctor" regarding the drug they were inquiring about so we wouldn't be liable for giving advice, etc.  It was so encouraging to hear the success stories where patients smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day and were able to quit smoking on Chantix (which is for smoking cessation).  I did have one gentlemen tell me that our company is moving in the wrong direction by getting people to stop smoking .... hmm not sure we were on the same page regarding moving towards a healthier world with an abundance of resources!!

Saturday night we met one of Gabe's best friends from Dallas who was visiting Seattle with his girlfriend, Stephanie.  We had dinner downtown at Icon Grill and enjoyed a night of playing remember when.  I think it might be a good thing that I didn't know Gabe in college, ha - not really, because I so often wish we met before we did so all the links would fit together in his "past life" before me :)    


Anyways, thanks for letting us spend the evening with you and look forward to seeing ya'll soon.  Hey, maybe we will meet you in Dubai.  (Wink, wink, Gabe that was for you to especially read!)


Gabe and Brett


I drove to and from downtown multiple times a day this past week and weekend, and it is now all coming together and making much more sense.  My goal is to be able to navigate through Seattle without my nifty Garmin navigator, also known as Carmen.  My Paw Paw got her for me when I first moved to Seattle, and it has been an absolute lifesaver.  Now, she comes in handy again with my new offices.  The more I work in the city, the more I want to live closer to the city than where currently reside.  I have a lot of convincing to do with Gabe, but we just re-signed a lease at our apartment so I have a little time.

Hope everyone has a wonderful start to the week.  It is going to be 70 degrees tomorrow, which is almost sweltering to us.  I may get to pull out the sunglasses .....
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Viva Las Vegas

Well, I am about a week and a half late posting from Vegas.  Let's just put it this way ... I am so glad to be home and am finally getting back into my routines after traveling so much.  I had such a wonderful time in Vegas including amazing food, strolls up and down the strip during every break we had, and staying in a phenomenal hotel, The Venitian.


Entry way of the Venitian hotel with Mollie
                                                    
My favorite girls from our early training days - Bekah and Rebecca - We have been through a lot together!!

This was our view from dinner at Circo in the Bellagio.

Sonja, Nicole, Jamie, and Cheri - My Seattle teammates

Can you believe I didn't gamble one dime??  It makes me too nervous!

Aren't these botanical gardens breathtaking?  Jamie, my old partner for three years, had to deal with me taking a gazillion pictures.  She tolerates me well :)

This was right inside the Venetian that seemed like an entirely different world.  We liked to make our way to the Grand Canal Shoppes over lunch to get away from the Pfizer meetings/ballrooms, so we at least felt like we were on vacation.  Performers would serenade people through the canal in the boat behind me in the picture.  It was really neat because it echoed.

Jamie, Sonja, and I were infatuated with the living statues performing throughout the Square.
 
At the Mirage - made me feel like I was in Hawaii again.

I think this was at MGM, not sure though.  This day so gorgeous, and I loved having to use my sunglasses.  They don't get enough wear in Seattle!

Headed to a fun dueling piano bar at New York, New York with Jamie and Sonja (who is six months preggers and such a good sport walking all over town).

On our way to eat at the highly talked about restaurant, Tao, which was delicious!  Definitely worth it.

The highlight of the trip with the girls - "O" - Cirque du Soleil.

I absolutely wanted to quit my day job and become an acrobat on this show.  It was absolutely amazing, and they are all so incredibly talented.  Maybe in my next life!!!  We had perfect seats on the balcony where I could see everything that was going on in the water.  Pretty amazing how it all comes together.


Sorry for so many pictures!  I know there were a ton, but I had to capture each and every event and couldn't pick which to leave out.  I did well to leave out the picture of all us pale Seattleites at the pool ...

Monday, April 13, 2009

The dancing machine is at it again.



Jenny sent me this clip of the same kid using a few more dance skills than the previous clip. He was able to focus more without his sister getting in the way. Abby .... this was added for you!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New Inspiration

My new photos really inspired me to create a header with an updated look.  I used scrapblog.com to create the header, which Abby encouraged me to do from scratch instead of using one that is pre-made.  I was so lucky to have her create my first header when I started my blog, and man I should not have taken that for granted.  This one took me awhile to create from scratch, but it was well worth it.  It got my creative juices going, and I'm glad I made it the way I wanted.  Yay for a blog makeover.  Although, I just realized that I retained similar colors as before even though I meant to modify them.  Oh well, maybe next time I will go "crazy berserko" and choose something really wild. 


Hope everyone had a blessed Easter with their families.  We just got home from Easter dinner with our good friends, Katie and Bryan.  We had a potluck, and they surprised us with peppered beefalo as the main course.  They didn't tell us until after we ate the meal, ranted and raved about it, and devoured it that it was actually beefalo and not steak.  Little do they know, that we are from Texas and love any kind of red meat!  Everyone should try it .... 70% less cholesterol and incredibly lean.


Newlywed Photos .... 3 years late"

Here are some post-wedding pictures that we like to think of as engagement pictures or newlywed photos ..... three years late!  When we were in Dallas, we took these totally spur of the moment and just for fun.  The sun was shining directly in our eyes where it seemed impossible to open them, but we managed to squint enough to see out with a smile  :)                                                                                                        


                                                                              





If anyone is looking to have lovely pictures taken for a special event, I highly recommend Dabney!  She did all this in my parents backyard, in a matter of ten minutes, and with not much to work with (including us having no idea how to pull off the model look!)..... Let me know if you need her contact information for a photoshoot in Dallas.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fun morning/night with the hubby

It has been really nice driving south to my new territory since Gabe works in that direction as well. I was able to drive him to work two days this week, which is nice because it motivates me to start work earlier than normal and saves him a lot of time on his commute. Plus, it gives us time to chat when we usually wouldn't.


This morning, we stopped at a local coffee hut and got a tasty peppermint mocha. Mocha's are not my thing, but this place makes them so good I can't resist. Of course it's nonfat, but it's definitely not as healthy for me. The sugar gets me going though, and it's perfect while we cruise to work in the HOV lane. This allows Gabe to relax in the passenger seat and not have to sit in what seems like a parking lot while driving to the office. So, that is always a great way to start out the morning .... then, I picked him up at the end of the workday and headed to the gym together. I always love working out at the same time, even though we don't actually workout together :) It is so nice to have someone motivate you on an evening when one of us would rather be sitting on the couch after a long day. Thankfully, working out has always been apart of both of our lives, which makes it that much easier and more enjoyable to do together.


We were debating what to eat for dinner, but not really. I was debating when Gabe said lets go to the Casper's: A Taste of the South .... a BBQ trailer a block away from our house. We have driven past it for a couple weeks now, and Gabe tried it for the first time last night. He talked about it all last night, all day today, and the entire way home from the gym. So, I said I would go with him and try in since I do love some BBQ. It is a young guy in his early 30's who bought all the recipes from a 75 year old for some good old southern cookin'. They have everything from gator to brisket, okra to fried pickles, and best of all beignets. My meal consisted of okra and hush puppies, and holy cow it was amazing. Most people from Washington don't know what okra is, but I will definitely be teaching my friends after this amazing visit. We literally ran home with the to-go food in one hand and dogs in the other so all the fried food would be fresh. What a fun day with the hubby!


Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend and remember most of all the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior!


All I have to saw is WOW!




I saw this on a fellow friends blog, and my mouth hung wide open when I wasn't laughing. I think the mom needs to turn off BET and play a few more Disney movies .... hah. Most of it is clean, but you wonder where he got a few of those crazy moves. Is this not hilarious?!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Friends and more friends

Gabe and I were able to do our favorite things while we were in town:  spend time with family, see our best friends, eat amazing Mexican food, and soak up the sun in between the indecisive weather.  We went to dinner with Ryan (Gabe's brother), his wife April, and good friend Adam at Manny's in the Uptown area.  This use to be a favorite of mine, so it is always fun to stop by my old stomping grounds and chow down on some chips and queso!  Did you know we don't have queso in Washington???  If you were to attempt to order chips and queso, the waiter would stare at you and look as if you are talking to them in Russian, and then most likely they would bring you a cup of shredded cheese, hah!  Washington Mexican food just isn't the same as what I grew up eating, so we always have to eat it the real thang' every chance we can.  


Oh, and I also got the pleasure of eating TACO BUENO Sunday evening as on of my last meals before leaving town, and it was sooo good, as always!!!  Is it normal to get this excited and look forward to eating all my favorite places ... each and every visit?!


                                                                  Ryan, Adam, and Gabe                                                                                                                                                 

April and Me


Then, the second highlight was meeting my best friends baby, Colt!  I have to admit that he might be the most studly eight week old baby dressed in a gorgeous Burberry sweater.  Can you see our excitement from Abby's face?  Just priceless and it never gets old. 
 
He was just as sweet as could be, and I can tell he loves me already :)

Sheryl and my Momma raised us like twins since we were totally inseparable.  I guess that is what happens when you are next door neighbors and nine days apart!  Now, ya'll get to be Grandmothers together.


Abbdae, I am looking forward to seeing you again in just four weeks.  I haven't finished the itinerary yet, but it is definitely in the making.  Keep that baby fat and happy because we don't want a phone call cutting your Seattle getaway short!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Travels to Dallas

We were suppose to leave on a flight Thursday evening so we would be able to spend all day Friday enjoying time with family in town for Griffin's 1st Birthday party ..... but we had a slight hitch at the airport.  After parking our car, taking a shuttle, getting in line to check my oversized bag (for Dallas and Vegas), we then realized that our flight was overbooked.  It was so shocking since the 30 open seats were filled with passengers who got re-routed from their cancelled flights due to weather.  To my dismay, I found out at the ticket counter, which added a little stress to the situation.  I called my Momma who can normally solve any problem or issue, and she was just as stunned as we were.  She encouraged me to leave Gabe with the bags at the ticket counter and run through security to the ticket counter where her friend was working to see if we had a chance to squeeze on the flight with our stand-by tickets.  Long story short, we ended up not making the flight, and going back home.  Luckily, we made it out the next day just in time to make it for Griffin's BIG Birthday party.  Sweet Gabe made a trip to Dallas to spend a total of 36 hours with the family.          

My favorite sets of twins:
Erich, Ginna, Gabe, me, Gaylen, and Nicholas

The proud parents!

Granny Gari with Griffin when he was being delicate with the cake.

Then he learned how to get dirty and enjoy all the flavors of the icing!!


He was so generous to share with Opa!

All the girls before the present opening begins.

This sums up the excitement while opening presents.  We loved singing Happy Birthday over and over again watching Griffin dance with his hands to the sound of the song.  Such a sweet time to watch the birthday boy with a huge grin on his face.

Then we had a modeling shoot outside in the backyard, and I loved these that captured the moment!

All the grandkids with our Granny Gayle.  She really would give anything for each and every one of us, and we love you for that GG!

Dabney Fletcher took these headshots of my Grandparents .... aren't they amazing!!!



Overall, the weekend was a huge success.  We will never be able to get that time back, and I am so thankful for all of you.  Cheers to adding another baby to the Brooke family!!!

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